60 pages 2 hours read

Yu Hua

To Live

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1992

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Teacher Introduction

To Live by Yu Hua

  • Genre: Fiction; Historical Fiction
  • Originally Published: 1992 (in Chinese); 2003 (English translation)
  • Reading Level/Interest: Adult/College
  • Structure/Length: Divided into chapters; approximately 256 pages (English edition); approximately 8 hours and 50 minutes on audiobook
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: To Live is a novel that spans several decades of Chinese history, from the 1940s to the 1970s. The central character, Fugui, is an impoverished and uneducated peasant who experiences the tumultuous changes of his country, including the Chinese Civil War, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. The central conflict revolves around Fugui’s struggle for survival, both physically and emotionally, in the face of political upheaval, family tragedies, and personal loss. The novel explores themes of resilience, family bonds, and the enduring human spirit in the face of adversity.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Themes of war, political turmoil, infidelity, loss of life, and personal tragedy

Yu Hua, Author

  • Bio: Born 1960; Chinese author; known for literary works that reflect the experiences of individuals and families against the backdrop of China’s turbulent history; often delves into the human condition and the impact of historical events on ordinary people in his writing; To Live is one of his most acclaimed novels and has been translated into multiple languages; has authored several novels, short stories, and essays that have garnered international attention
  • Other Works: Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (1995); Brothers (2005); China in Ten Words (2011)